Saturday, November 24, 2018

Turkey Pot Pie

I know it's a total and complete cliche, Turkey Pot Pie to use up some of the leftovers from Thanksgiving.   But I'm of the firm conviction that the old tried and true is good.  Nothing fancy here, just plain old goodness.
I do use Puff Pastry instead of pie dough, mainly because you can make it look spectacular and it tastes good.
Which actually is the point, that it taste good. 
Turkey Pot Pie with Pufff Pastry topping
The filling, ready to be topped.
Turkey Pot Pie
 Puff Pastry rolled out a little with leaf shapes cut into it along with the scoring.
 Scoring the Puff Pastry in squares, makes it a little easier to serve out.
Turkey Pot Pie with Pufff Pastry topping

Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Pot Pie with Pufff Pastry topping

prep time: 20 minscook time: 40 minstotal time: 60 mins


 Turkey Pot Pie

2 cups or more, chopped cooked turkey
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2-3 stalks diced celery
8 oz. green peas
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 cups turkey stock
1 2/3 sheets of puff pastry, rolled out a little.
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
Salt and Pepper to taste
Olive oil and butter for sauteeing


Saute the mushrooms in some butter with a little olive oil until they're browned a little and have released their moisture.   Cook the carrots and celery in the turkey stock, just til almost tender, with the poultry seasoning, for about 10 minutes.   (of course if you have leftover veggies from Thanksgiving you can skip this step and just add the veggies to some gravy and turkey and bake them)
Drain the carrots and celery and set aside, reserving the turkey stock for the gravy.   Chop up the turkey into bite size pieces and set aside.
Make the gravy with the reserved turkey stock, then place the veggies, peas, mushrooms and turkey into the gravy, check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if you like.
Let it cool before completing the next step, if you can.    Pour into a large casserole dish, 9x13  and top with the rolled out puff pastry.
You can cut shapes out of the pastry at this point, before placing it on the pie filling.  (I will cut a strip off of one side of the Puff Pastry sheet and then make leaf shapes or other shapes, and place them on top)  Puff Pastry does shrink up, so you want to drape the pastry over the sides of the casserole dish.   If one sheet won't cover it, then use part of another sheet.      I also scored the pastry sheet to make it easier to scoop out servings, and it made it look kind of pretty as well.
Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375 deg. or until the puff pastry is golden and puffed up.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Timetable and countdown for T-Day.

By now your turkey should be in the fridge and thawing.  If not, there's always the cold water bath in the kitchen sink.  Just make sure you scrub that sink first before doing the thaw.  I remember one year having to do a last minute thaw, and it wasn't fun. 
I also like decorating the table.  Here is from one of our past T-Day celebrations.
I like to do as much prep work beforehand as I can.  Although I'm limited in fridge space, but I can make do.
Once I get the turkey out of the fridge, it does clear a lot of space on the 'day'.

This is my loose, and subject to change, schedule for the week.  

Tuesday:- Make a list of all the dishes you're preparing and check the pantry to make sure you have it all.   Make a last minute grocery list.   Go to the store.   Pull out all the serving dishes and make sure they're clean (especially if you only use them once a year and someone else did the dishes, you don't get any surprises this way.  Make Boozy Cranberry Sauce .

Wednesday: -    If you have room in your fridge, and you're making the potatoes, yams, or other baked veggies, make them the day before.   You can always reheat yams or sweet potato casseroles or mashed potatoes.  If you're baking pies, do them the day before.   You can also make my Vegetarian Stuffing the day before, it tastes so good the next day, in fact it tastes better the next day.

Or if you insist on making the stuffing on Thursday, chop the celery, onions, carrots and put them in baggies in the fridge overnight.   Toast the bread cubes for the stuffing, it'll keep overnight just fine.   
Thursday:  Check the list you made and assign a time value to everything you do.  Like this;
Depending on when you plan to serve the meal, you may want to modify it a little .   I usually plan on 20 minutes a pound for the turkey, with a fudge factor of 30 - 45 minutes.     A twenty pound turkey takes about 4-5 hours, 
7 am   Take Turkey out of fridge - I like to let it sit out at least an hour before putting it in the oven.
7:30    Take prepared veggies for stuffing out of fridge.
8 am    Have a cup of coffee, go over lists 
8:30    Peel and cook potatoes, mash them, stick them in a crock pot or the fridge so you can reheat them later on.  I use my Crock pots, a lot. 
9:00  Make stuffing while potatoes are cooking. 
Put the turkey in the oven at any time, so it will be ready and have time to rest before carving and eating time.   You know when you've got the meal planned for.
If you're like me and didn't have fridge space, this is when you go into hyper mode and get the rest of the veggies prepared.  

12 noon   Set table, clean up disaster area, AKA kitchen.  And don't forget to decorate the table. 
another idea Fresh look Thanksgiving centerpiece
or how about this,

2 pm  Nap or lay down for 20 minutes, breathe, read a book, relax.  Trust me on this, take at least that amount of time for yourself.  It really helps.

3 pm  Shower and change, put a large apron on, to protect your clothing.   Check Turkey temp and PANIC cause the temp is too low, then realize you didn't put the thermometer in far enough.  Push it a little further in, until it is in the thickest part of the joint between the thigh and drumstick.   If the turkey is browning too fast, put an aluminum tent over it.  Helps it to cook just a tad faster as well.  Watch that little pop up timer too.   And don't panic if the turkey is done before you're quite ready.  Just tent it with some aluminum foil, and put it back into the oven, after you've turned the oven off.  The bird will stay warm.
3:30 pm - Mix the rolls up, and form them into little balls, set aside to rest and proof. 

4:30 pm.  Take turkey out of oven, make the gravy, brown the stuffing, turn the oven up to 400 degrees to bake the rolls you made earlier, and let that poor bird rest for at least 20 minutes while you get all the last minute stuff together.    Carve, serve and pour yourself a large glass of wine cause you made it, and the food's all done on time and your guests are hungry and ready to eat. 

5:00  Sit down and eat and enjoy yourself and don't forget that pat on the back, you survived another Thanksgiving countdown.   And don't forget the wine.   Go ahead, pour yourself another glass, you deserve it. 

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Monday, November 19, 2018

Last Minute Thanksgiving Ideas

It's almost Turkey Day!
Are you prepared?  Is the turkey thawing in your fridge yet?  If not, and you're just cooking a small one, 10-12 lbs., you can get it in there now and it should be mostly thawed by T-Day.   If not, you can do the cold water thaw in your kitchen sink.  Good luck.

If you're still on the fence about side dishes, or want to try something new and different this year, might I suggest this dish.   Personally, I can't stand the traditional Green Bean Casserole.  But, this twist on it will make your guests come back for seconds and thirds.  I got the recipe a long time ago, and make it just about every year.  This is the penultimate Green Bean Casserole. No canned soups, no limp onions, just great taste. 

I love Cranberry Sauce, from the can and my own Boozy Cranberry Sauce as well. 
 Boozy Cranberries ready for the oven
I call this stuffing, even thought it doesn't go into the bird, but you can call it dressing if you like.  
I usually make it vegetarian friendly, but you can make it with chicken stock as well.   And if you happen to have some gluten-free people coming to the meal, go ahead and use gluten free bread as well.  Wild Rice Stuffing 
A few years back I was cooking at our local Senior Center and one July we made a few turkeys, and I learned a valuable hint from one of my helpers.  As we took the turkeys out of the oven, we put foil on top and then draped towels over top of the foil. This kept the turkey's hot, as they rested before carving and I think it helped us to carve them much easier as well.  I've been doing it ever since. 
By the way, I usually put some celery, carrots and onions in the cavity of the turkey before roasting.  I think it adds a lot of flavor from the inside out.  
That was a great dinner.   All the fixin's...
I even made rolls.  And I'm making them again this year.  These are a great addition to any meal.  And not that that hard to make either.  You bake them after taking the turkey out of the oven, while it's resting.  Try out my No-Knead Rolls. Home Made Rolls

And I didn't forget dessert either.   I'm making Pumpkin Pie of course but if you're looking for something a touch different, might I suggest this Sweet Potato Cake.  It's worth wrangling the 7- Minute frosting to make it.Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Cake

I wanted to add that I was featured on Miz Helen's Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday and got the coveted Red Plate Award.  
Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers

I can't believe it's time for Soup Saturday Swappers, again.  This past month has flown by and yet dragged at the same time.

We had a major hurricane hit the coast not that far from us, and there was a lot of damage in our little part of the world as well.

So much to do and yet, a lot of waiting around. It's a hurry up and wait.  Hurry up and get the hurricane debris cleaned up and out to the roadside and then wait til they can get it picked up.  Hurry up and file insurance claims and then wait while your claim gets processed.  Kudo's to all the people working on picking up the storm debris.  If you travel down Hwy. 98 there is usually a lineup of cars waiting their turn to go, one lane is usually blocked off by the debris removal team and it's not uncommon to see 6-8 dump trucks waiting to be filled up.  Part of our new normal.  And we're the lucky ones.  Just a few miles down the road, 50 or so, whole communities were decimated.  Houses, businesses, everything gone.

And then of course, it was also hot for part of the time and now it's sweater weather.  Which I'm loving, that also means it's perfect for soup.

The challenge/theme for this month was a soup with pumpkin or squash.  
Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup

Our hostess is Ashley of  Cheese Curd in Paradise and she is the one who suggested using pumpkin and/or squash. 
I went here for inspiration and then added a bunch of other seasonings, because I could.  I added some curry and some candied ginger I'd made and tasted it and my mouth went "WOW, where have you been all my life".
Well, not really, cause it tends to do that whenever it tastes something good.

As it turns out, I did what I usually do.  I cooked from stuff I had in my pantry and freezer.  When you live where I do, you tend to keep a well stocked pantry.  At least for some specialty items.
I bought a bunch of canned pumpkin awhile back and made some bone broth/stock last week.  I always have onions on hand.  And of course with Thanksgiving coming next week, I also had some sweet potatoes on hand.

But this soup, is definitely one that will be made again and again.  Or maybe I'll just keep some in the freezer and nuke it when I need a hot cup of goodness.  And it's sippable, well mostly.  I love a mug of soup when I'm writing, I can sip and think and don't have to wrestle with any eating implements either.    Or maybe just a spoon, cause those dried cranberries were a genius last minute add, even if I do say so myself.   And can't forget the cremé fraiche.  Just a drizzle, adds so much. 
Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup
Ginger Curried Pumpkin Soup

prep time: 5 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 35 mins
This is a surprisingly filling soup, hearty and yet light. Perfect as a starter or as light lunch.


6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 can pumpkin puree
1/4 cup candied ginger, diced
1/2-1 tsp. Curry powder, hot or mild
1/2 tsp. Ginger
1/2 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. EVOO
1 tsp. Butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries - for topping
2 tablespoons Crème Fraiche -optional


Sauté the onions in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until caramelized, this takes about 15 minutes.  Add in the diced sweet potatoes and sauté an additional 5 minutes.  Add the stock, candied ginger, curry powder, ginger and coriander and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked and soft.  Taste to correct for seasonings.  You can always add more of the curry, but it's hard to take back out.  Use an immersion blender to blend it all together.  Serve in a bowl topped with a sprinkle of dried cranberries and a drizzle of crème fraiche. 
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Curry Sauce for #FishFridayFoodies

It's time for Fish Friday Foodies again.   This month we're doing Stir-Fries featuring Seafood as suggested by our hostess Karen from Karen's Kitchen Stories.
Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Curry Sauce

I was all set to use Shrimp, but decided against it.   I had some cod in the freezer but it seems to have gone walkabout so I used some Sole instead.   I've been craving fish and veggies lately anyway.
I went online and searched for a recipe and found one on this site.  And followed it.
I forgot to buy scallions the other day, but have lots of chives in my pots.  I also added an extra pepper, cause I found one called Aloha and it was gorgeous. It was red and yellow and orange.
  I also used fresh bird peppers, because I love them, and the heat they impart.  And... I added some Bok Choy Sum., cause I could.

Cooked it, tasted it and promptly made it an offering to the kitchen goddess.
I don't know if it was a combination of the spices, sauces, or just what, but I ended up dumping the whole thing. It was awful, or at least, my mouth said NO WAY!

Luckily I had some of the pepper left over, and decided to start from scratch.  I had also bought some shrimp for Thanksgiving and decided to break into that package for this.
Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Curry Sauce

And I really loved what I came up with.  

Yield: 2 servings

Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Curry Sauce and Peppers
Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Curry Sauce

prep time: 10 minscook time: 10 minstotal time: 20 mins
If you like a touch of hot, and spicy without being overwhelmed, this dish is perfect. Serve with either Somen Noodles or rice or?


1 whole Green pepper - seeded and julienned
1 whole Aloha Pepper or orange pepper - seeded and julliened
2 baby Bok Choy Sum, washed, and julienned
2 fresh bird peppers, diced
1/2 lb fresh Shrimp
1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon Sweet Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Roasted Sesame Oil
1/2 teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Green Curry Paste
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons water


Heat oil in wok or shallow fry pan until very hot, add the vegetables and stir fry them for about 3-4 minutes or until the Bok Choy starts to wilt.   Add the shrimp and stir to combine, cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp has turned pink and is almost cooked through.  Add the sauce. stir to combine, and let come to a boil, cook for another minute, then serve over Somen Noodles or rice. 
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Community Potluck for November 2018

I meant to get this up yesterday, but took the day to run into the big city. 

We met at a new venue this month, St. James Bay Golf Course allowed us to use their Fountain Room, and we'll probably be meeting there every month until they kick us out. 

The place we used to have it at, is no more, thanks to Hurricane Michael.  It basically took out the entire building as well as causing damage and havoc throughout our community. 

We appreciate being able to have our Community Potluck at the St. James Bay Golf Course.  The room was lovely, and as usual,  lots of great food was brought, and lots of conversations and story swapping were done. 

Without further ado or any other drum rolls or ?

It's funny how some months seem to get a theme, without any prompting from anyone.   This month there was a definite Pasta theme, which made my little heart go pitter patter.   I love pasta. 
I had to do it, here are all the pasta dishes.
And you know I sampled every single one of them.
Bowtie Pasta with Sausage

 Macaroni Salad
 Chicken with Noodles
Orecchiette or Little Ears Baked Pasta
 Mac and Cheese
There was lots more brought and enjoyed.
We not only had some lovely Mashed Potatoes 
 But also some roasted Rosemary Potatoes
This totally awesome dish with Chicken and Sausage and Rice
 I made a Jambalaya with Sausage, Chicken and Ham
 There were some Salmon Patties (I didn't get to taste them, but was told they were good.
 Some Pork Loin Sliders, and being a Dane, I'm a pork fan, so I was happy.
 There was a Pumpkin Soup, which was spicy and delightful
 And you were to top it with Salsa, Sour Cream and tortilla chips
 Some Mushrooms, I could have dipped some of the Foccacia in the juice.

and a Spicy Kale dish
 along with some Brussels Sprouts.   Funny that, I never used to like them, but my taste buds must have matured somewhere along the way, cause I really like them now.
 A Cheese and Cracker tray.  And if you look up in the left hand corner, I also made and brought some Tiramisu Cupcakes and didn't get a picture of them. 
I also did not get a picture of another latecomer, some bacon wrapped sausages.  

and then there were the desserts.
You have to have dessert. 
You do. 
Sweet Potato with a crunchy sweet topping
 Santa and his Pineapple. 
 A baked Apple Compote
 Pumpkin Pie
 and some Turtle Pie
And I missed getting a picture of a fruit cobbler as well. 

I got busy chatting with friends, trading Hurricane Michael stories and commiserating with those who had damage or lost stuff.  I was one of them, but, you have to go on.

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